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Jesse Stone: No Remorse DVD Review

Jesse Stone: No Remorse (2010) DVD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Jesse Stone: No Remorse
Movie & DVD Details

Director: Robert Harmon / Writers: Tom Selleck, Michael Brandman (teleplay); Robert B. Parker (characters)

Cast: Tom Selleck (Jesse Stone), Kathy Baker (Rose Gammon), Kohl Sudduth (Luther "Suitcase" Simpson), Stephen McHattie (Captain Healy), Krista Allen (Cissy Hathaway), William Sadler (Gino Fish), Mae Whitman (Emily Bishop), Todd Hofley (Alan Garner), Saul Rubinek (Hasty Hathaway), William Devane (Dr. Dix), Rothaford Gray (Mr. Jackson), Jeremy Akerman (Councilman Carter Hanson), Brian Heighton (Heartford Clerk), Kerri Smith (Sister Mary John), Joe (Reggie), Guy Germain (John Kelly)

Original Air Date: May 9, 2010 / Running Time: 87 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: July 27, 2010 / Suggested Retail Price: $24.96
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
To be released in 6-Movie Jesse Stone DVD Collection on September 3, 2010

Buy Jesse Stone: No Remorse from Amazon.com Buy 6-Movie Collection

Magnum, P.Who? It's tough to believe that Tom Selleck has now portrayed another iconic television hero for nearly as long as he held his signature role of Hawaiian private eye. Beginning with 2005's Stone Cold, Selleck has played Jesse Stone, the lead of Robert B. Parker's detective novels, in six television movies for CBS. A seventh has already been shot in Nova Scotia, which has regularly stood in for the fictional coastal small town of Paradise, Massachusetts.

Parker died this past January while writing a novel for his other famous investigative hero Spenser (who was given an ABC TV series in the 1980s starring Robert Urich), but Stone will live on. For one thing, there are five Stone novels not yet adapted; for another, the latest and next telemovies aren't even based on Parker's books, but on original teleplays penned by Selleck and veteran TV producer Michael Brandman.

Can you hear me now? Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) gets a cell phone, but the dead zone that is his home requires him to venture outside to take and receive calls. William Sadler returns as Gino Fish, the Boston mobster, er, boxing promoter with a tie to the parking ramp murders.

The sixth movie in the popular series, Jesse Stone: No Remorse opens with a man in a parking ramp being killed by a point-blank head shot. This, the flashier of the movie's two mysteries, is believed to be the work of an urban serial killer when similar random ramp murders occur. The other crime of interest is a series of local convenience store robberies perpetrated by an unknown man in a stocking cap.

Guarded and goateed as always, Jesse Stone is also somewhat damaged here. On unpaid suspension from the Paradise Police Department for his actions in 2009's Thin Ice,
the secluded former police chief finds company in an oft-poured bottle of Scotch and Reggie, the rescued retriever he can't commit to owning. Officially, Jesse can't communicate with the two cops running things in his absence, his confidante deputy Rose Gammon (Kathy Baker) and young temporary chief Luther "Suitcase" Simpson (Kohl Sudduth). But Stone flirts with that regulation, indirectly lending some assistance to the stick-up investigation. He also finally buys a cell phone, a lightly comedic plot point to which the movie devotes ample time.

For his "coply intuition", Jesse is hired as "temporary consultant" to the Boston Police Department to help find the parking garage serial killer. The case carries a tie to one of the city's known mobsters, Gino Fish (William Sadler), who employed the first victim. Jesse pursues that lead while also paying regular visits to his shrink (William Devane) and speculating on his future with the Paradise PD.

Jesse Stone loves Scotch. Scotchy Scotch Scotch. Here it goes down, down into his belly. Krista Allen plays Cissy, Hasty Hathaway's newly-introduced ex-wife, who gently tries to seduce Jesse Stone.

The detective mystery is one genre that seems unlikely to ever wear out its welcome. There's a reason that TV series like "Columbo", "Murder, She Wrote", "Diagnosis: Murder" and others have enjoyed remarkably long runs. Once a worthy crime-solver is established, there is practically no end to the mysteries they can unravel. A different world, an unusual challenge, crimes inspired by life... the possibilities are endless. As long as there is an audience and actors continue to find the franchise more creative than tedious, the series can keep running and pleasing crowds in slightly modified ways.

Serving as my introduction to this universe, No Remorse proves to be a competent and compelling movie. It's not entirely self-contained; character arcs and relationships clearly spill over from previous outings in a fashion that favors longtime fans over newbies.
But the first-time viewer is never lost and usually able to figure out which characters are returning (most of them) and what might have shaped their relationship with the protagonist. Jesse's romantic past is a bit vague from only seeing this movie (as is the reason for his nun friend's brief appearance), but his romantic future seems to be smoothly paved here, more so than his professional one, which provides a closing cliffhanger.

The directing (handled as always by Robert Harmon), the writing, and the acting here are all up to par for a network television drama. None of it, not even the winning Selleck, seems to go beyond the demands of the small screen, but that suits a mystery series well, with TV being far more conducive to the long runs of popular print series than film. As is often the case for CBS' senior-friendly programming, No Remorse beat its competition by overall viewers (attracting 11.4 million) but trailed in the medium's all-important 18-49 demographic, in its Sunday night May debut.

If Mae Whitman keeps lighting up the cigarettes as concerned convenience store clerk Emily Bishop, Tinker Bell will soon sound raspy. Trying to solve Boston's parking ramp murder mystery keeps gum-chewing gumshoe Jesse Stone (Tom Selleck) awake at night.

True to tradition, Sony quickly brings this movie to DVD (and only DVD), a format on which the movies have sold exceptionally well.

VIDEO and AUDIO

No Remorse is given a standard 21st century TV-on-DVD presentation of 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The former is mildly disappointing. The video is soft, dark, and grainy, with pale colors. I have no frame of reference for this, so it may just be the series' visual style.
The movie stays clean and looks fine, but its appearance seems more befitting of something from the beginning of this century than now. (Of course, everything about Jesse Stone, from the character to the cell phone jokes, feels a touch old-fashioned, so it works.) The 5.1 soundtrack is more commendable. It breathes constant life into the proceedings, dispersing music and the occasional atmosphere in steady, tasteful ways. English subtitles are happily provided.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

Like all previous Jesse Stone movies, No Remorse comes to DVD without bonus features. Menus, including the cover-reformatting main screen, are static and silent. A Previews menu holds promos for "The Shield": The Complete Series Collection, "Rescue Me": Season Five, and "The Pillars of the Earth." There are no inserts inside the Eco-Box keepcase.

In Jesse Stone's mind, he's not breaking the terms of his suspension, if he and "Suitcase" (Kohl Sudduth) don't look at each other while talking.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Without having seen any prior Jesse Stone movies, I would guess that No Remorse offers not anything better or worse but more of the same. That would appear to be enough for fans of these Tom Selleck mysteries who rightfully find them engaging. Is it must-see television? No. But there's always a place for a well-made, old-fashioned whodunit and this fits that bill squarely.

Like the movie it holds, Sony's DVD doesn't go far beyond the call of duty, delivering adequate picture, good sound, and the now-standard void of bonus features. I doubt you need to start or stop collecting the series with this disc. If you do feel the movie is worth owning, you can get it now or wait a year and save $5. Either way, the release should meet your expectations. And if you've never before been interested in this series, know that you don't have to be old or have seen all the movies to enjoy them. But evidently, both of those might help a little.

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Reviewed July 15, 2010.



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